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Comparison Shopping - Are You Really Getting A Bargain For Your Books?

Updated on September 7, 2014

The websites that you usually frequent to buy and rent books, are you really getting the bargain that you are thinking you are getting? Or are the prices inflated? When I originally was going to write this blog, I originally set out to tell you about some websites to go to where you can compare the prices of many websites that offer discounted prices for books to get the best bargain, but as I dug deeper I realized there may be more to this subject than I originally intended.

Selling Your Book

At one of the websites, which was, I tested 22 books and out of all the books I tested only 2 were accepted. So you may or may not have a high chance of being able to sell your book through their website or any of these other websites if they are not in demand.

When you sell your book, you'd be incredibly lucky to get a quote for $2.00 to $3.00. So far, I have not seen a price quote above $3.00. Since the price fluctuates so much a couple of the websites suggested that they could not promise to give you the amount that was quoted to you because the selling price of the book may change if you didn't send your book quickly to them after getting your quote. So if you want to sell your book, I suggest you go to the site itself and list it at your own price. That way you don't have to worry about whether or not you will get the money that was quoted to you or not. And you won't have to worry about your book not being "accepted" because it's not in demand.


One thig I noticed is that since the prices fluctuate so much at these "discount websites" you may have to check at a few of the "regular stores" first to get an idea of how much of a bargain you are truly getting.

The prices at the "regular stores" will take a longer time to change and the promotions will probably last longer and you may find coupons easier than for the "discounted websites". The "discounted websites" change their prices very quickly. Not only can they change from day to day, but these prices can fluctuate several times depending on the time of the day.

For example, there was one day I checked for the price of the book Number the Stars in the afternoon it was $7.72. Later that evening, the price had gone from $7.72 to $6.05 for the used book. As for buying new from Amazon, the book went from $4.48 to being sold within that evening.

Although, these websites have their cons, they do have some benefits. So, here I have 3 websites that you can go to to do your comparison shopping which will list a lot of the places you can get books at a supposedly discounted price.

These 3 websites are:

CheapestTextbooks, and

Source's features include:

  • List of "discount websites" where you can buy and rent books
  • Lists what promotion is going on at the time
  • Lists if there is a coupon code for that particular website
  • Gives the price of shipping
  • If you're renting how long you can rent it for.
  • It also searches in eBook.
  • Compares selling prices for each "discount store".
  • You don't need to make an account just put the ISBN, Title, Author, Keyword or Browse the books by Subject

When you type a book into the search box, the website will give you a price quote for one of the websites that they list. If you're trying to sell a book, the books price and which websites you can sell it to should be at the bottom. If it's not at the bottom chances are your book is not in demand. And you really can tell if your book is not in demand if it takes more than one page to list all the duplicates or similar versions of the book.

Source features include:

  • Browse bookstores for coupons and promotions
  • Browse retail stores in the apparel, automotive, beauty, toys, electronic, etc industry for coupons and promotions
  • Compare prices of products such as appliances, Kindle store merchandise, music, books, jewelry, sporting goods, groceries, etc from different stores
  • Gives description of the book, how much you can buy, rent, there are icons you can click if you want to include or not include a store in your list etc.

You first choose your books by typing in the book you want in the search box click on the item or the link that says more details. You can then choose to add to your bookbag (aka shopping cart) or click buy and be taken to the website you are buying the book from to continue to shop there. If you choose to stay at, you go to your bookbag (aka shopping cart) and click add to bookbag. Click start comparison. And it will start the price comparison and the website will try to get the best combination of books to get the best price from each website. If there are items from a certain category you don't want there will be a checklist on the side that you can check or uncheck whether or not you want to compare prices from new, used, rental, digital along with some additional settings. And then check out when you're ready or leave the site and go somewhere else to compare other prices.

Source features include:

  • You can rent, buy or sell.
  • Browse through various books
  • Marketplace items are not included in the free shipping amount. The Marketplace items usually sell the book for $0.01 and are usually of what they call "average" condition.
  • Download the app - includes digital media where you can copy and paste the text in the book and highlight, send info to classmates
  • Works on iPhones, Android iPad, iPod Touch that have CourseSmart Apps

Source features include:

  • When you Rent - Free Shipping.
  • They donate a 0.50% of what they offer you to a charitable organization of your choice from a list that they provide you with. Organizations include Oxfam America, Feeding America, American Forests, And they donate your books that have "no monetary value" to the Books Overseas Program for Books For Africa and To the International Book Project.

If you want to get a price quote or sell your books, you can type the ISBN for the book and push price my book. If you don't know the ISBN, you can look it up on the site in the search box that you use to look for books to buy or rent. You just enter the ISBN, Title, Author, or Keyword and a list will populate with details about the book including the ISBN. There are two ISBNs. You can type in either one.


I personally wouldn't recommend renting. Why? The renting is so high at some of these sites. Sometimes the rent is twice or three times the price of the book that it's almost best to buy the book for as cheap as you can get it and then sell the book to a website or somewhere else that pays the highest if you don't want to keep it.

September 2014 - Promotions For Buying in Bulk

Promos from Website
Promos from Stores
Barnes and Noble
Free shipping on orders $25.00 or more
Promos depend on the store they come from
Promos depend on the store they come from
Free shipping if you buy $59.00 or more
Promos depend on the store they come from
Promos depend on the store they come from
Free shipping on an order for $75.00 or more
Promos depend on the store they come from

If you're buying in bulk check out the promos. As you can see, depending on how much you plan to spend or how many books you plan to get make sure that if you buy in bulk that you check promotions at each website listed and also check some of the name brand stores too.

So check with the name brand book stores before purchasing at a "discount" website. Chances are you may be paying more at the "discount website" than you may be paying at the "brand name website".

Now, there are some websites that have some good prices like Marketplace and AbeBooks. Marketplace usually sells their books for $0.01 + shipping which is about $3.95. So you pay $3.96. And then some of the others also may have some every once in awhile. So make sure that you are getting the best deal.

And even if you don't like these websites, they can at least give you a list of websites to visit so you can personally see what they have to offer. You can also get a general idea of what each site is selling their books for so you can buy or rent some books and not have to visit each site to see which one has the best bargain.


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